I’m sure a high percentage of people who chose to click this article either are fixers, former fixers, or maybe they want to understand why fixers feel the need to make it their responsibility to change everyone. Well, for one, barely anyone who fits the bill knows why they do what they do until it exhausts them—like myself. I have been a fixer for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved fighting for the underdog. Something about being needed for the betterment of people’s lives has always felt very fulfilling to me. That is until I’d invested so much in many close relationships that it backfired on me. And like many fixers, I would question how I could have offered so much, yet people treated me anyhow in the end?
First of all, I don’t know who gave me this responsibility. It's really not my battle to fight because transforming people’s mindsets is not any person’s job. It is work that only Jesus can do. “Let go and let God” is a real mindset that fixers need to be open to.
I've realized that if people didn't see the need or have the desire to work through their own mishaps, there was nothing I could do to change the outcome of things. It didn’t matter how much I cared and wanted them to step into their so-called greater potential. Progress wouldn't happen until they were ready and willing to do the work.
My Fixer Revelation
During a therapy session, I was asked whether I liked being “everything” for people close to me, and I said "yes," feeling a bit shameful and questioning why I continued those cycles. Every fixer has their particular reasons, but I think my abandonment issues had a lot to do with it. As a child, I felt that I wanted to be cared for. I wanted to be rescued by my absent biological father and saved from being emotionally neglected by other family members.
I always felt things very deeply. I have a Scorpio Moon sign, and I mention that to signify that I am very comfortable sitting in and working through heavy emotions. It intrigues me a lot, and that’s my big way of fixing people—being their emotional backbone until it’s backfired on me in several close relationships. This is why I’m now choosing to combat this behavior of playing savior and working on being a supporter of people, not their foundations.
Let me introduce you to the fixer lens below, as I dissect this character trait with two therapists who are very well-versed on the subject:
How To Know You're A Fixer
One of the biggest ways to tell if you're a fixer is to see how much you extend yourself in relationships and to whom you stretch yourself. I often extend myself to individuals who associate themselves with avoidant or other anxious attachment styles. I also tend to play the role of fixer to avoidants because they don’t like examining their emotions, and I often like walking them through it. Licensed clinical social worker, Insha Rahman, a relationships and boundaries expert at mental health directory Choosing Therapy, says that fixers tend to feel responsible for other people's emotional stability and happiness, while they themselves are very sensitive and emotionally vulnerable.
If you like to be the giver in a relationship to the point of "saving" or being a "white knight," you're probably a fixer. Someone with a fixer mentality has to fix anything they perceive as hurt, broken, or defective.” I look at myself as an ongoing self-help project. For way too many years, I have applied the same mindset to relationships of any kind—familial, friendly, and romantic.
Licensed mental health counselor Nicole Kleiman-Reck, an expert on relationships and boundaries, mentions another perspective on how to identify whether you're a fixer. “A person can recognize if they are a fixer when they avoid getting to the root of a problem. In relationships, this is often described as being avoidant. If a person is doing all of the work to fix the problems in a relationship, they can pretty much be feeling like they are taking on 100 percent of the responsibility in the relationship. They are not holding their partner accountable for the role he or she is playing and often feel insecure in the relationship. Fixers are often very uncomfortable to see their partner in pain, but it is usually tolerating the discomfort that allows the work to be done for true resolution of problems.”
"Fixers are often very uncomfortable to see their partner in pain, but it is usually tolerating the discomfort that allows the work to be done for true resolution of problems.”
Who would have thought offering your partner space to figure it out for themselves, in their own timing and way, is more beneficial for both parties?
Why You Like Fixing Other People
“Fixers feel the need to fix others because of an underlying need to validate and give meaning to their own lives," adds Rahman. "Many times, fixers are survivors of some kind of past damage such as abandonment or loss of a caregiver. Although their intentions may initially be positive, fixers want to be the one figure everybody looks up to for all the answers.”
Unfortunately, I have felt this as my “calling” to help others in such a capacity, not knowing it was also causing a lot of heartaches as well. I was investing an abundance of self-work that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the other person. Just because I see and often treat myself as a project doesn't mean others should be depicted through that lens. Just think about how hard it is to unlearn and change aspects of yourself.
To think that’s an easy 1-2-3 for others is literally insanity.
The Backfiring Aspects of Being a Fixer
Many people admire fixers because sacrificing themselves at such a capacity can be disguised as deep-rooted love or care for the other person. In reality, it builds an unhealthy attachment instead of a support system with boundaries — which every relationship needs.
Kleiman-Reck states, “Fixing is unhealthy in relationships because it will get in the way of true intimacy. It's a one-sided relationship, and it can either lead to codependency and enabling of the partner to take responsibility for the changes they need to make on an individual level or will be downright exhausting for the fixer, and they will often get into the habit of fixing, even when there is not a problem. Fixing can get in the way of differentiation in a relationship, which is essential since both partners need to be able to express their individual needs. Being able to openly communicate this is essential in a healthy relationship, and fixing is unhealthy because it prevents this growth.”
"Fixing can get in the way of differentiation in a relationship, which is essential since both partners need to be able to express their individual needs. Being able to openly communicate this is essential in a healthy relationship, and fixing is unhealthy because it prevents this growth.”
As someone who has had my fair share of one-sided relationships, when they came to an end, I felt so empty. It was like, 'Wow, I gave so much.' And in the end, it was never enough. It was just in the last few months of therapy, as I unpacked a lot of my patterns in relationships, that I started to see the role I often played. I questioned whether I was playing this role as a trauma response to underlying abandonment issues.
“Being a fixer can be a trauma response to past abandonment issues that stem from an ingrained sense of being damaged," Rahman says. "And abuse damages self-esteem. Often children who were exposed to parental disapproval, rejection, and physical or emotional abuse will end up with a sense of blaming themselves for their parents' abuse. Then in adulthood, that person might project [their] damaged self onto partners whom they see as in need of repair. In other words, by fixing their partner, they are fixing themselves.” And so, the cycle continues.
Unlearning Habits and Implementing Secure Boundaries
Kleiman-Reck says that in helping fixers through their challenges, she empathizes with "the fixing role they have been playing" and she encourages self-compassion since a "fixing mentality usually comes from a place of deep hurt but also has positive intent." She also reinforces that making it to therapy means that a fixer realizes there is a disconnect in the relationship, which is "huge progress." She helps clients to recognize internal conflicts and works with them to "normalize the two parts of themselves" and have a "healthy dialogue" between the part of themselves that wants to evolve and the part of themselves that wants to fix others.
"I would also support their own discomfort during their process of change and reinforce the beauty that is on the other side of a truly healthy relationship. I would teach them how to get curious about their partner's actions by encouraging them to ask questions (and would guide them through healthier questions to ask)."
"The goal of unlearning their fixing qualities will be to better understand why they feel compelled to fix while normalizing the discomfort that comes from growth. Seeking support would be an ongoing focus while they take action with boundary-setting," she adds.
To all my fixers out there, I know your heart. It is pure and always looking to play the role of a warrior. But a sustaining and healthy love needs space for people to figure out their own mishaps. The best you can do is acknowledge whatever issue comes up with compassion and be patient with others during their healing process.
You need to focus on their discernment and being responsible for your part. You can also release the burden off your shoulders if you admit the work that is meant for you to do in the relationship versus work that the other party needs to tend to.
Every loving relationship needs boundaries. Stop enabling work that wasn’t meant for you to do.
Featured image by Getty Images
Nick Cannon is letting viewers in on a little secret about himself that is common with many people, yet surprising coming from the actor. On his self-titled talk show, the TV host along with a group of other men got vulnerable about their insecurities in the bedroom. Nick kicked it off by revealing his insecurity first.
“I’ve got to tell you, I definitely have an insecurity when it comes to being intimate,” he said. “I’ve been skinny my whole life, so therefore I’ve never liked to be completely naked [in the bedroom.]” He added, “It’s usually like, I hide under the covers. As much as I boast about being in shape.”
When comedian Chris Distefano chimed in to ask him if he “Winnie the Pooh it,” referring to the cartoon character that wears a shirt and no pants, the 41-year-old responded that he typically has “some type of clothes, some type of socks.”
While it may seem shocking to hear the comedian say that about himself, (especially since he’s very conscious about his health following his Lupus diagnosis), many fans could relate showing that he’s not alone.
I feel Nick Cannon and his bedroom insecurity….I don’t like eye contact! Smh….why do we need to be staring at each other!!!! 👀👀— 👑EST. 1982👑 (@sassy_nanci) January 20, 2022
It be the most beautiful people (you) with the biggest insecurities... Once you become intimate with someone that values you unconditionally your insecurities will become confidence... you're beautiful inside and out you have nothing to be insecure about PERIODT— Shef her voice (TyraB)🎙🎼🎶🙏🏾❤🌠 (@Shefhervoice) January 20, 2022
Here are some other male celebrities who got candid about their insecurities.
"When I got married to my wife [Gabrielle Union] ... I would never walk around on vacation with my shirt off. I would always have something on, something covered and she was like, 'What are you doing, you weirdo?'" he said.
"It took me a few years, even by myself in the house walking around naked."
In his memoir, Will Smith reflected on his famous scene in Bad Boys when he was running down the street with his shirt open.
While he thought that it would be “corny” to run with his shirt off, the film’s director Michael Bay thought otherwise.
"I wasn't yet secure with my new body," Smith wrote. At that time, the movie star had started developing muscles and he was still trying to get used to it. "The thought of standing around all day with no shirt on intimidated me."
However, with some pushing from Michael, they were able to reach a compromise, which allowed Will to still have on a shirt. "I felt like I wasn't completely naked and vulnerable, and Michael knew that the shirt would billow like a cape when I ran."
OKAY RIHANNA 👀 pic.twitter.com/kgDD7J24Bg— Amberghini (@amberellaaaa_) October 2, 2020
Model Steven G. rose to fame after his photoshoot for Savage X Fenty went viral. And while he has been viewed as a representation of body positivity, he hasn’t always felt confident in himself.
“I think there’s many instances where, even in the sense of dating, I may not have pursued someone because I didn’t necessarily have the confidence in my size,” he said in an August 2021 interview withThe Pitch.
“Like going to the pool, for instance, I would leave my shirt on versus taking it off because I wasn’t confident in my body.”
Featured image by John Lamparski/Getty Images
When I first heard about Harlem, the new Amazon series about four Black girlfriends in the city, I admit, I wasn't a fan. There, I said it. I'm a child of the golden era of Girlfriends, Living Single, Friends, Moesha, Sex and the City, and The L Word. My friends and I were real-life offspring of these constructs who had a lot in common with the women of those shows. Even after enjoying a season of the similar new Showtime series Run the World, I'd had enough of stories about friends "navigating their way through" their 20s, or 30s, or 40s. I loved these shows, but thought to myself, "Why do we need a Harlem? Can't we tell other stories?"
It wasn't until recently that I had a come-to-Jesus shift of mind on why more than one depiction of any common human experience where the characters are Black in America is not only needed but still vitally necessary – particularly related to Black sexuality. And when I dug a bit deeper, I saw that Harlem specifically did a huge service to the depiction of Black male bisexuality that few other popular series have been able to honestly honor. (And yes, I just typed Jesus in the same paragraph as bisexuality. Hey, Ma!)
'Harlem' as a Catalyst
Late last year, I stumbled upon an Entertainment Weekly piece about the comparison of Harlem to Run the World and was intrigued by the words of the show's creator, Tracy Oliver: "When there's another Black show, people either reduce it down to the same thing, as if two creators can't have totally different experiences, and points of views, and voices, or they try to pit you against them and make it competitive."
But wait. That didn't quite seal the deal.
Then, about a week ago, I had to edit a piece that was literally about why the two shows should be able to co-exist—a very well-written, logically convincing piece of prose that again, almost, convinced me that I'd prematurely written off what could be a very profound work by another Black creative.
I didn't need another sign. I binged-watched the whole season, in its entirety, in one day.
What truly stood out for me is that the characters, cinematography, soundtrack, and swag of Harlem really do embody the diversity of what you might find if you'd plopped yourself on 139th and Lenox. Considering the show and any competitor similar to it can be likened to comparing your favorite tell-it-like-it-is cousin and your sassy bestie confidante. They wear the same tapered ode-to-the-'90s haircut and Savage x Fenty lingerie, but each plays a very unique, valuable, and significant role in your life.
Harlem is an authentic nod to the fact that while we know Black women aren't a monolith, neither are their experiences. The perceptions, subcultures, and vibes within our communities can vary from group to group, even if that group is in the same locale or setting. The same definitely applies to the Black identity as it relates to sexuality.
The show offers an empowering representation of Black masculinity and bisexuality that is notable because it turns the usual onscreen stereotypes of women's fear, disgust, and bewilderment about Black men's queer sexualities and experiences on their head.
A Case for Elevating the Sexuality Conversation
It's hilarious and telling when, in episode 6, the actress-friend of the group, Angie (played gloriously by the amazing Shoniqua Shandai), finds out that her castmate, Eric (played by the alluring Jonathan Burke) in the fictional off-Broadway production of Get Out, is not gay but bisexual. They work together. They laugh. They build a friendship. They even scope out "big n**ga" baes together. During that journey, Eric finds that he's attracted to Angie and he confesses to her as much. She shares the attraction. They kiss. They have sex. They continue to build.
The show doesn't awkwardly dwell on the affirmation expressed by Eric or received by Angie. It doesn't overanalyze it. It doesn't demonize it or dehumanize it. It also doesn't overtly rally behind it nor glaze over it. It treats it as an everyday life norm in the context of a show depicting Black women who are actively dating, working, and loving in a city where bisexuality shouldn't even be a taboo topic. It's actual truth to power in action, without the fluff, the pretentiousness, or the shame.
We often get to see Black women fluidly express themselves sexually, unapologetically owning the choice of who they go to bed with on TV. But when it comes to our men, there seems to be a very skewed, dare I say problematic double standard.
While the BET seriesTwenties very expertly, albeit briefly, scratches the surface of Black women in relationships with bisexual Black men with its notable foray into the story of a soon-to-be-married woman who finds out her fiancé is also attracted to men, we still have yet to see a robust, fully developed, humanity-validating, modern-day depiction of Black bisexual men.
Still not catching what I'm throwing at you? Go take a look at Insecure season 1 episode 6 where Molly tossed a totally good prospect into the dating-pool garbage bin because he admitted to performing a sexual act with a man once. She also labeled the guy "gay" (and unfairly outed him, if indeed he was) only to find out that he's heterosexual. Her friends also debated whether or not they would be comfortable dating a man who either was bisexual or who’d had bisexual experiences. I love the show, but that's just one of several very significant examples that helps illustrate my point about the way bisexual Black men and the women who date them have been portrayed onscreen.
Art As Life ... or Nah?
I moved to the Bronx and worked in Manhattan in my 20s—post-crack-era but pre-gentrification—and my network was filled with professional transplants looking to make their Big Apple dreams come true. They wanted to hustle and live the freest, most exciting lives they could outside of the judgmentally conservative, middle-America, salary-capped eyes of suburbia. Several of the people in my close-knit group were bisexual, pansexual, transgender, or enjoyed sexual encounters with the same gender.
Safe to say, I'd truly had a been-there-done-that chip on my shoulder when I heard the news about Harlem premiering until I saw that the show at least attempted to dynamically take the conversation of love, sexuality, identity, and dating further than it had been taken on TV before. I could think back to days when a friend I thought only liked women brought his male boo to the weekly Sunday potluck or when I met the guy who proudly had sex with whoever he wanted to. (He'd boldly share the juicy details during drunken nights at the pizza shop after the club let out. If you asked him to label his choices, he'd smile and say, "You wanna find out? I'm me, baby.")
Black Bisexual Men and the Women They Love
It is truly Harlem's approach to reintroducing a topic like Black male bisexuality that can, at the very least, enhance a quite stale dialogue, offering the beginnings of efforts to give a solid voice to people who are looking for understanding, connection, love, and companionship. The stats even reflect why this is important. According to a 2019 Center for American Progress report, about half of the LGBTQ community is "bi+, meaning they identify as bisexual, queer, pansexual, or some other identifier indicating attraction to more than one gender."
Another recent Gallup report states that about half of millennials, specifically, (people aged 24 to 39 in 2020) who identify as LGBT indicate that they are bisexual. (And we all know that there's much more work to be done in terms of adequate racial representation in studies and reports about sexuality, so these numbers, arguably, could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of an accurate picture of the U.S. population, but again, I digress).
We've seen Nola beautifully exploring love with both men and women in Netflix's She's Gotta Have It. We've seen Annalise Keating torn between two lovers of different genders on How to Get Away With Murder. There was Tara on True Blood, Maya on Pretty Little Liars, and more recently, Nova on Queen Sugar. These Black women, even if some were not overtly identifying as bisexual, at least enjoyed ample screentime for fleshed-out romances, sex scenes, and loving exchanges that showed both sides of the bisexual coin. Why not our Black men?
They're relegated to being depicted as either down-low, confused, disgraced, loathsome, or cheaters—and maybe all of the above, depending on the show or film.
That one episode in Harlem reminded me why I moved to NYC in the first place: to expand my horizons, get to know people from diverse walks of life, and push past the stifling mental envelope of what I'd been taught growing up in a Southern Baptist small-town enclave of Black excellence tainted by its own dangerous underbelly of ignorance, bias, and delusion.
Harlem should remind us all of the expansiveness of the Black community; to continue to think outside that box of TV stereotypes related to sexual interactions and expressions and to start the conversations that need to be sparked – especially about our Black men. It should empower us to be thinkers and nudge us into an elevated reflection of our own humanity.
Harlem prompts us to at least question what our own notions of Blackness and Black sexuality are—or better yet, why those notions about our Black men should be questioned at all.
Featured image via Amazon Prime
Jordin Sparks has been married to her husband Dana Isaiah Thomas for five years and they share a 3-year-old son, Dana Isaiah Thomas Jr., together. The singer is no stranger to gushing about her husband and their relationship. The two often share adorable photos of their family on social media and Jordin has spoken about their life together in interviews.
In 2020, she did an interview with People in 10, where she dished on Dana being her person. "I don't know if this is a surprising thing, but I do know in my bones it's just been total confirmation to me that he's the person I'm supposed to be with," she said.
"Dana is everything, he is my partner, not in crime, but he's my partner in life [and] thrive — is what I like to say."
But before she met the love of her life, the American Idol alum took time to focus on becoming a better version of herself.
While co-hosting The Real recently, Jordin opened up about why she married her model bae. “I married Dana because after I went through therapy and I really worked on myself—I cut myself off from dating and I went celibate,” she revealed.
“And I just was like, ‘I have so much love in my life. The next person who comes into my life in that way needs to add so much more than I already have.’”
She added, “I married Dana for multiple reasons. Obviously, I love him so much, but he was the first man to actually see me. He saw me, for Jordin, and who I am and all the things that I love and all my quirks and all my weird things and all my spilled drinks and all the things.”
“He was the first person to see me and not have any preconceived notions about who I was. It was amazing because once we started talking, he got to know who I was, and I got to know him outside of this. It was just really incredible. He made me feel safe. He made me feel happy and comfortable.”
While the “No Air” artist celebrates the institution of marriage, she doesn’t necessarily believe that marriage is for everyone. In the same segment for The Real, she also gave her views on couples taking the big leap to marriage.
“I think if you're going to take the dive, then it has to be respected. The institution of marriage has to be respected because you're making that decision to actually do that,” she said. “But I also think if you have a great relationship, and you're good where you're at, you don't have to get married. Just be happy. Healthy relationships come in all shapes and sizes.”
She continued, “I am married. I married my husband. I love him, and we're going on five years. I'm just so grateful. But at the same time, I have friends that have been together for years and aren't married and that doesn't make a difference to me. They're committed to each other. They love each other. It's the same thing. So I feel like it's whoever's choice.”
Featured image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
One thing I've been seeing return to my social media feed is the opportunity to travel. Since the top of 2020, the world has been trying to figure out what "catching a flight" will look like in the future. And when you travel with your bae, it is an extraordinary experience that should be on everyone's bucket list. On a baecation, you are able to unwind from the daily Zoom meetings and experience another culture together. It's also another way to really take your intimacy to another level and grow closer to your boo mentally, physically, and emotionally.
One couple who prioritizes their love for travel and love for each other are digital creators LaNaiza Kelly and Mahdi Gaines. Originally from New Orleans, LaNaiza and Mahdi met each other at work when Mahdi noticed LaNaiza around the office and attempted to get to know her. One day, Mahdi joked that whenever she was around him, that there should be a smile. This exchange turned into an authentic relationship where they'd go everywhere together, including traveling the world.
As their love for each other grew, they created their own platform, Love at First Flight, where they share their journey of love and travel. This is a couple that knows how to put the bae in baecation. After three years, LaNaiza and Mahdi are still showing up for each other through amazing global experiences and smiling every step of the way.
In this installment of xoNecole's How We Met, LaNaiza and Mahdi share how their love story is based on honesty, authenticity, and unlearning bad habits.
How We Met
Mahdi: I was in marketing and she was in sales. I actually transferred over to the sales department and that's when we met. LaNaiza used to walk around with this mad look on her face. She is not a morning person. One day I asked her, "Why do you look so mad in the morning?" And she told me, "Don't worry about it." My response was, "Well, you need to make sure you smile when you're around me," and she told me she will make sure she smiles next time.
LaNaiza: Yeah, I think it was a pretty well-known thing at work that I was not a morning person, so I never looked happy in the morning. Then this guy tried to tell me to smile, and I was like, "OK." I am super-sarcastic, so every time I saw him after that I had the biggest smile on my face. That's really how things got started. It was just a bunch of sarcasm with each other.
Mahdi: Usually LaNaiza and I would hang out, but it was always with a group. But one day, we decided to go to this place called Barcadia. She came over that evening to my place and she was all dressed up. She blew my mind when she showed up. I felt I was underdressed. We had a really good time that night. It was amazing.
LaNaiza: I was a ball of nerves that night. I was actually really nervous and tried to avoid any kind of feelings toward him. I wasn't looking to be in a relationship, but he was very persistent. We hung out a lot already, but I felt that this time was different and it was turning into something more. I started freaking out. But that night was a really good night at the end of the day.
LaNaiza: I think the moment when I started to like him, I was thinking to myself, 'I don't want to do this anymore.' But I couldn't deny it, you know? I would notice myself feeling salty if I couldn't hang out with him sometimes, so I had to be honest with myself that I was ready [for a relationship].
Mahdi: It was pretty early on for me. Even when we were hanging out, I noticed that I stopped wanting to hang out as a group and more one-on-one with LaNaiza. At a certain point, I kind of knew that a relationship with her was where my mind was going. One night we were hanging out at this club and I told her, "You know what, what's going on here? I'm interested in you for real.'" I kind of laid it out on the table.
"At a certain point, I kind of knew that a relationship with her was where my mind was going. One night we were hanging out at this club and I told her, 'You know what, what's going on here? I'm interested in you for real.'"
LaNaiza: I love that Mahdi is super goofy. He has a great sense of humor and can make friends with anyone you can imagine. I really admire that about him because sometimes I can be a little standoffish. He still embraces that inner child in him. I believe that's the core of who he truly is.
Mahdi: LaNaiza has this hard outer shell that everyone knows about but she has the biggest heart ever. She cares about people, animals, you name it. That is something that really attracted me to her. Earlier on when we were dating, I noticed that soft heart. That really means a lot to me.
The "L" Word
Mahdi: I think it was a couple of months into the relationship for me. We moved so organically and I had strong feelings for LaNaiza. We were so close and she was my best friend. I could talk to her about anything even before we became a romantic relationship, so when we finally got together, it just clicked. This was everything I ever wanted and I have never felt this way about anybody. I started thinking about my future and she was the only person I wanted to be in it with me.
LaNaiza: For me, I knew I loved him but I didn't want to admit it. When I started to feel my walls coming down and I was comfortable to just be myself around Mahdi, that was when I knew. I used to never think about the future with someone and it just felt right with him. It was just one of those things where when you know, you know.
"I knew I loved him but I didn't want to admit it. When I started to feel my walls coming down and I was comfortable to just be myself around Mahdi, that was when I knew. I used to never think about the future with someone and it just felt right with him. It was just one of those things where when you know, you know."
Mahdi: What I've learned about love is that when you love somebody, you give that person the real you. A lot of people like to put up a front or try to be someone else in order to fit this ideal partner. But with LaNaiza, she is unapologetically herself. She reminds me all the time (laughs). I love that because that makes me want to be unapologetically myself too.
LaNaiza: I have learned that love is a job. It is a continuing thing that you have to work toward every day. There are times where we butt heads, but if you really love someone, you have to put in the work and the effort to keep the love alive—to show up for one another.
LaNaiza: In the beginning, we were both coming out of serious relationships. We were both in unhealthy relationships where we developed bad habits. We had to unlearn those habits in order to be with each other. We were honestly figuring out how to love essentially and learning how we would want to receive love. One habit I had to unlearn was communication. I am not good at communicating (laughs). I am very quick to express when I am angry. But for me it was learning how to express how I'm feeling when I am feeling it. Instead of holding it in and blowing up later.
Mahdi: For me, I had to unlearn a lot of things. I felt that I had to take care of everything like I did in my previous relationship, but LaNaiza taught me that I don't have to do everything. We are a team. With her, I feel like I am in a true partnership. I have never felt like this before. I remember we went on our first trip to Puerto Rico. The room was in my name and we were checking in. At first, I was going to take care of everything, but then LaNaiza stepped up and handled the check-in—honestly, better than I would have. As I watched her, I thought to myself, "You know what, I like this!"
LaNaiza: We both have busy lives, so I think it is important to carve out some time for hobbies. One of my favorite things to do is salsa dancing. It's a time for me to be social and it's also how I like to unwind. Mahdi and I spend a lot of time together so we try to carve out our alone time when we can.
Mahdi: So LaNaiza is a night owl and I'm an early bird. So I like to get a morning workout [in] at around 6 a.m. It's a good start to my morning and it helps me clear my head. Then when night comes around, I'm already tired but LaNaiza is still working on emails and things. It just works because she knows I'm out for the count anyways.
LaNaiza: I think one shared value is just being honest with each other. I think that should be the foundation in any relationship.
Mahdi: We also talk about our life goals a lot to each other. We keep each other motivated and focused on what the end goal is. We have meetings about it and everything.
For more of LaNaiza and Mahdi, follow them on Instagram @loveatfirstflight_.
Featured image via Love at First Flight
While we’re still processing the sad news of Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa’s breakup, another beloved celebrity couple has called it quits. Yes, the chocolate goddess herself, Ryan Destiny, and her handsome now-former boyfriend, Keith Powers are no longer together. The surprising news recently hit the internet and fans are having a hard time coping.
Not Ryan Destiny & Keith Powers!! 💔 pic.twitter.com/YHbS1ZBQvx— Morgan Murrell (@RespectThe__GAP) January 18, 2022
keith powers and ryan destiny broke up!?!!?! pic.twitter.com/hp47IVggKD— ⚔️ (@xbxresh) January 18, 2022
This Ryan Destiny & Keith Powers breakup is actually very personal to me ! pic.twitter.com/cFUYoNU0KS— The Damson Idris Fanpage . (@dmsnidris) January 18, 2022
Keith, 29, and Ryan, 27 were together for four years after meeting at a Teen Vogue party in 2015 and according to People, they will remain friends. "They're taking time to focus on themselves and their emerging careers but are remaining close friends."
This may explain why they both still have photos of each other on their social media pages.
While we are stunned over their breakup, let’s reflect on some loving quotes the former couple said about each other and their relationship.
On Falling In Love with One Another
“I realized I was in love when I knew my life would be extremely affected in a negative way if Ryan wasn’t in it. Loving someone is a very natural feeling that just happens. You can’t just wake up and SAY I love this person, you FEEL it. You realize like wow, this person is a piece of me and regardless you don’t ever want that person out of your life. I also felt myself growing as a person when Ryan came into my life, especially mentally. And I realized that I’m ready to deal with anything I have to deal with alongside Ryan. Once I felt that I knew.” - Keith Powers, We the Urban
On How They Navigated Their Relationship
“Me and Keith have a really good balance. We don’t try to oversaturate or put ourselves out there too much because we’re still very much private people. We just like to share our love with people sometimes and a cool picture that we took of each other so it’s nothing crazy serious that we think about.” - Ryan Destiny, Madame Noire
On Being an Example of Black Love
“...Black love gives us hope. When you see black love flourish, it’s POWERFUL. It’s important we show our youth how powerful it is as well. I think our relationship shows people that it's possible even in this type of industry. I think we exemplify good young black love.” - Keith, We the Urban
Featured image by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for MACRO